What It Truly Means to be a Christian-Book Review

What does it mean to be a Christian? The answer one gives is telling. But have you thought about it? What is a Christian? The answers will inevitably be varied. A.W. Tozer seeks to answer the question. “A compilation of Tozer’s sermons and writings, Discipleship provides an artful call to all-in Christian living. Through eloquent and winsome prose, Tozer brings us back to the simple truth we so often neglect-that He who is all in all demands all of us (from the back cover).” 

Where I live, it doesn’t cost much to say you’re a Christian. I fear that many are deceived into thinking they’re Christian simply by the way they vote, where they live, or who their family is. When one reads the call to discipleship in the Scriptures, one can’t help but realize that answering that call is costly. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matt. 16:24).” Tozer states, “the cross has gathered in the course of the years much of beauty and symbolism, but the cross of which Jesus spoke had nothing of beauty in it. It was an instrument of death. Slaying men was its only function. Men did not wear that cross; but that cross wore men (101).” 

there really is no way to patch up and repair the old life of self. The whole burden of the New Testament theology insists that the old human self is ruined completely (89).

In the Bible, following Christ meant something; it cost something. Today, I wonder if our discipleship is costly. For one, to be a Christian, you must love righteousness and hate sin. Think about that. Do you hate iniquity? Do you love righteousness? Do you love what God loves and hate what He hates? Does your love for God enable you to stand for what’s right? As a Christian, are you afraid of calling sin as sin? There is some today who refuse to call others to repentance. These people preach tolerance. 

Some believe that calling others to repentance and publicly standing on God’s Word is unloving. “Who are you to judge?” is often the reply. Or “I believe that God is love. To call others to repentance is unloving.” If you love someone, one of the most unloving things you can do is remain silent while they walk in sin. Tozer says, “I believe in Christian charity, but I do not believe in the weak tolerance that we hear preached so often now—the idea that Jesus must tolerate everyone and that the Christian must tolerate every kind of doctrine (19).” He adds, “When we become so tolerant that we lead people into mental fog and spiritual darkness, we are not acting like Christians. We are acting like cowards! We cannot do better than to remember that when Jesus Christ has spoken, that is it (19-20)!” 

The words of the prophet Micaiah should be the same for all who seek to follow Christ, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak (1 Kings 22:14).” To follow Christ indeed means to die to yourself. Tozer says, “there really is no way to patch up and repair the old life of self. The whole burden of the New Testament theology insists that the old human self is ruined completely (89).” Christ must increase, and I must decrease. There must be more of Christ and less of me. As Tozer says, “that’s where you feel the bite and the bitterness of the cross, brother (93)!” 

I believe in Christian charity, but I do not believe in the weak tolerance that we hear preached so often now—the idea that Jesus must tolerate everyone and that the Christian must tolerate every kind of doctrine.

Discipleship came to me at a time when I felt the Lord stirring my heart more about the reality of Christianity. Tozer seeks to get across the idea that following Christ is not superficial or part-time. Christianity is not a subset of your life. When one becomes a Christian, they see and operate through a Christian worldview. In other words, your life is dramatically different. The way one view relationships, careers, leisure, etc., should be Biblically driven. “Christian” is not simply a title one puts on for Sunday morning and takes off Sunday afternoon. 

If you are looking to evaluate your relationship with Christ, walk alongside a new Christian, or dive deeper with other believers, this book is for you. Discipleship will aid in one’s discipleship. 

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

**If you would like to buy a copy of Tozer’s Discipleship you can find it here.

Soli Deo Gloria ,

Josh Chambers

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